Orbotix Scores $5 Million. Because You All Want Smartphone-Controlled Robotic Balls

Exclusive – Boulder-based smart toy company Orbotix has raised $5 million in Series B financing from Foundry Group and Highway 12 Ventures as it prepares for a Fall launch of its Sphero, a robotic ball that can be controlled by iOS and Android smartphones.

Sphero is billed by the company as a new kind of entertainment device that combines play in the real world with games in the virtual world, creating a ‘mixed-reality experience’. Check out CrunchGear’s hands-on with the ball at CES 2011.

A 2010 TechStars graduate, Orbotix says it hopes to launch the Sphero by this year’s holiday season (reserve yours here). What you’d use it for, you ask? Just watch the video below.

Anyone with an iOS or Android device will be able to control and run programs for Sphero, courtesy of Bluetooth technology, and an open API will also allow developers to build their own programs for the little robotic ball, which, by the way, can glow in the dark in “thousands of different colors”. Cats and dogs worldwide will be enamored by this little bugger.

At launch, Sphero will be priced around $130, and include multiple games and applications.

Mark Solon of Highway 12 Ventures will be joining Foundry Group’s Brad Feld on the company’s board of directors as part of the financing deal.

Vaguely related: Finnish startup throws small ball at gaming console giants (video)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRzO_FRAGV4&w=640&h=390]